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Bristleback minimap icon.png Bristleback is a very good tank not only because of his formidable health pool, but also because of one of his abilities Bristleback, making him more durable when fighting with his back against his enemy. His Viscous Nasal Goo helps slow down enemy and reducing its armor, Quill Spray help dealing stack damage, and Warpath further increases his attack damage and movement speed. Being a carry and a tank at the same time, he can easily become team's initiator, capable of dealing and taking tons of damages in a teamfight.
Pros Cons
  • Very durable.
  • Good physical damage.
  • Effective ganker early and mid game.
  • Can chase down fleeing enemy easily.
  • Low strength compared to other strength heroes
  • Low Agi gain and armor
  • Has mana issues in early and mid game.
  • Not effective against high-armor heroes.

Ability Builds[edit]

Generic Bristleback
Quill Spray icon.pngBristleback ability icon.pngViscous Nasal Goo icon.pngQuill Spray icon.pngQuill Spray icon.pngWarpath icon.pngQuill Spray icon.pngBristleback ability icon.pngBristleback ability icon.pngTalent icon.pngBristleback ability icon.pngWarpath icon.pngViscous Nasal Goo icon.pngViscous Nasal Goo icon.pngTalent icon.pngViscous Nasal Goo icon.pngUnknown icon.pngWarpath icon.pngTalent icon.pngTalent icon.png


Hero Talents
+30 Warpath Damage Per Stack2515% Spell Lifesteal
+25 Quill Stack Damage20+25 Health Regen
+6 Max Goo Stacks15+250 Health
+3 Mana Regen10+20 Movement Speed
  • The health talent increases maximum health capacity, and keeps the current health percentage.
  • The spell lifesteal talent stacks additively with other sources of spell lifesteal.
  • The spell lifesteal talent heals for 3% from non-hero units. Treats creep-heroes as creeps and does not heal off of illusions.

Tips & Tactics[edit]


  • Bristleback's mana woes can easily be remedied by a Medallion of Courage icon.png Medallion of Courage, since his abilities have extremely low mana costs.
  • One of Bristleback's main weaknesses is his lack of disables, meaning he cannot silence or interrupt an enemy from casting spells. You can either rely on your teammates for disables, or buy an item of your own, so long as it benefits him in some way (a good example would be a Scythe of Vyse icon.png Scythe of Vyse, since it gives him good mana regeneration for his abilities, and a devastating hex disable).
  • Beware Legion Commander minimap icon.png Legion Commander and Axe minimap icon.png Axe, as both of them have abilities that force you to turn and face them for a few seconds, ensuring their and their teams damage is not directed to your back and thus making you far more vulnerable in a teamfight.


Viscous Nasal Goo[edit]

  • Viscous Nasal Goo has extremely useful effects, provided that you keep casting it against your target, as it slows their movement speed greatly when stacked up. Since each cast fully refreshes the whole stack's duration, and the duration is more than twice as long as the cooldown, after reaching the stack cap, you can time it so that you refresh the debuff before it expires, instead of continuously casting it whenever off cooldown. This way, you waste less of the duration, save some mana for your quills and can catch up faster to your target.
    • This ability is very effective when combined with Warlock minimap icon.png Warlock's Fatal Bonds, as the damage inflicted on the Viscous Nasal Goo target from other bound creeps or heroes is applied to the armor reduced hero at said reduced value. This makes the Bristleback/Warlock minimap icon.png Warlock lane combination very potent, even into the late game. When combined with area of effect items and attacks, a lot of damage can be dealt very quickly.

Quill Spray[edit]

  • Quill Spray can be used to secure last hits, whether from range or timing it with your regular attack.


  • Use your passive ability Bristleback to your advantage; anticipate enemy attacks and turn your back on them, so that you can reduce as much damage as you can.
    • Please note that you should not turn your back towards projectiles flying towards you, but the original damage source.
    • An early ability point on this ability during the laning phase can help you stay in the lane a while longer, especially if you are having trouble against attacks.


  • Even if your enemies can easily defend against you with a Magic Wand icon.png Magic Wand, you can still heavily damage them with Warpath; as long as you're stacking your spells against them, the bonus damage will do its job.


Starting items:

  • Tango icon.png Tango keeps Bristleback healthy in lane.
  • Stout Shield icon.png Stout Shield mitigates damage from lane harassment.
  • Enchanted Mango icon.png Enchanted Mango gives passive health regeneration and burst mana when needed.

Early game:

  • Boots of Speed icon.png Boots of Speed gives valuable movement speed.
  • Ring of Health icon.png Ring of Health helps to sustain in the lane and builds into both Vanguard icon.png Vanguard and Hood of Defiance icon.png Hood of Defiance.
  • Soul Ring icon.png Soul Ring provides you with virtually unlimited mana and synergizes well with Ring of Health icon.png Ring of Health.
  • Magic Wand icon.png Magic Wand keeps Bristleback in the fight, giving him a chance to potentially use up charges twice for very large amounts of healing, and every two charges will grant him enough mana for an extra Quill Spray or Viscous Nasal Goo.

Mid game:

  • Power Treads icon.png Power Treads give Bristleback strength to tank up, or intelligence to use more abilities.
  • Vanguard icon.png Vanguard is one of a few strong early to mid-game pickups on Bristleback. It is best against teams that have a large amount of physical damage. Note that the damage block is deducted from the full attack damage, before any damage reduction (such as from armor or the Bristleback ability) takes place. It builds into a Crimson Guard icon.png Crimson Guard.
  • Hood of Defiance icon.png Hood of Defiance, as opposed to Vanguard, is a much stronger choice when the enemies rather rely on magical damage. It upgrades into a Pipe of Insight icon.png Pipe of Insight.
  • Solar Crest icon.png Solar Crest provides survivability with armor and attributes. The mana regeneration also helps with casting spells.

Late game:

  • Lotus Orb icon.png Lotus Orb further bolsters defense with armor and health regeneration. Echo Shell can also dispel silences that plague Bristleback, while reflecting many targeted spells back to enemy casters. The mana and mana regeneration also help him to continuously cast Viscous Nasal Goo and Quill Spray.
  • Shiva's Guard icon.png Shiva's Guard is another large armor item, and it fixes any mana issues Bristleback can have. The active ability also gives Bristleback more presence in teamfights, damaging and slowing enemies in a huge area.
  • Heart of Tarrasque icon.png Heart of Tarrasque grants a huge amount of health and gives you significant regeneration when not in a fight against heroes. It helps in siege situations, where you can soak up lots of damage and then wait a short time to be back at full health. The immense health boost allows Bristleback to use the passive Quill Spray to their full potential, as he can tank significantly more, retreat to heal up and then repeat.

Situational items:

  • Blade Mail icon.png Blade Mail is a hybrid pickup of damage and defense. It is strong against teams with high amounts of burst damage, either causing the enemies to take the damage themselves as well, or forcing them to not use their burst damage, giving Bristleback some time to deal with them.
  • Heaven's Halberd icon.png Heaven's Halberd is a strong pickup if you're not the hardest carry on your team or the enemy team only has one physical damage dealer that it can be used on. The evasion, status resistance, and strength increase can add a lot to Bristleback's survivability.
  • Crimson Guard icon.png Crimson Guard is built off of a Vanguard, which is also a good item on Bristleback, and is an item any team should have one of if up against a physical damage heavy lineup.
  • Pipe of Insight icon.png Pipe of Insight is built off of a Hood of Defiance, which is also a good item on Bristleback, and is an item any team should have one of if there are any dangerous nukers on the enemy team.
  • Radiance (Active) icon.png Radiance is great on Bristleback if you can get it early in the game after a couple of items to tank up. This is basically a get-more-ahead item, as if you're hard to kill despite putting so much gold into an offensive item, it can be the best item to snowball the rest of the game by farming quickly and dealing massive area damage in teamfights. However, if you get this item at the cost of being tanky, this is a terrible item to pick up.
  • Octarine Core icon.png Octarine Core greatly increases Bristleback's survivability, and increases his damage output by lowering Quill Spray's cooldown time.
  • Assault Cuirass icon.png Assault Cuirass has amazing synergy with Bristleback, as it is one of the few items that can increase the damage of his Quill Spray. It also increases his and his team's tankiness against physical damage, and the attack speed greatly increases his attack damage output thanks to Warpath. It also is a great pickup if there are other carries on your team which rely on physical attacks.